What if it's a...work-life MESH?
I had a wonderful fourth of July weekend...until Sunday afternoon. Mid-drive home, I wound up in a conversation more heated than the afternoon Atlanta asphalt, and it drained the ever-living life force out of me. 😓
Monday morning, I woke up with what I’ve come to call “an emotional hangover”—Sunday was so intense, I started the week still feeling drained and headachey. 🤕
Most of you can probably relate to this.
And I bring it up here because the more I think about it, the more I think Jason Resnick is right. There’s no work-life balance. There’s just a work-life mesh. 🤔
I interviewed Jason as part of our upcoming piece on founders who have weathered past recessions. 📉 Jason has been through the wringer—not only of dot-com busts and great recessions—but of depression and burnout. 😳
One of the things he’s learned inside those brutal wringers is what happens at work influences life outside of work...and vice versa.
Jason told us, “What you do at home is going to affect your work, and what you do at work is going to affect your home...We can't put a wall up in our brain to say, ‘hey, what you think about from 9:00am to 5:00pm is not going to happen between 5:00pm and 9:00pm.’”
Jason is saying very few (if any) of our brains work like this:
Meaning, I can’t take my draining Sunday experience and tuck it right over there. Nope. It’s going to spillover because most brains work more like this:
A work-life mesh with osmosis rules we’re all learning. What we do know is this: pour enough stressors (or joys!) on one side, and it’ll sneak over to the other. Like my Sunday snuck over to my Monday and my 9-5 sneaks into my 5-9.
That’s how humans work.
Knowing this reality—and how to manage it—is a big part of running any business. And while folks are more open to talking about mental/emotional health these days (which is awesome), it’s a topic that pops us less frequently than beta launches, product-market fit, and finding your first 100 users. 🚀
But while taking care of you might sit on the forum fringes, it’s a HUGE deal. Why? For starters, Techcrunch reported entrepreneurs are:
- 2X more likely to suffer from depression
- 6X more likely to suffer from ADHD
- 3X more likely to suffer from substance abuse
- 10X more likely to suffer from bipolar disorder
- 2X more likely to have psychiatric hospitalization
- 2X more likely to have suicidal thoughts
The unsettling truth is: if you’re always a wreck, there’s a good chance you’ll wreck your business. Even if it’s a great product. Even if the market loves it. 😬
You’ve got to take care of you, in order to take care of your business and the people in it. Secure your own oxygen masks before helping others and all that exit row jazz. ✈️
Admittedly, as emotional peeps ourselves, we know this is easier said than done. Way easier said than done. That’s why we spent time digging into the topic with the five founders we interviewed (including Jason, Rand Fishkin, and Amy Hoy), and we’re really excited about what they said.
They gave us practical tips for:
- Focusing on your responsibilities
- Systematically checking in on yourself
- Keeping work hours under 50 per week
- Giving yourself space and grace when you need it
- Getting outside the echo chamber of your own head
These aren’t little feel-good tidbits designed for likes on Twitter. ❤️ These are tested tactics, systems, and encouragement from founders who have run businesses for decades. Who have made stupid expensive mistakes. Who actively wrestle with ADHD, depression, and panic attacks. Who use these systems themselves. 🎯
Trust me, you’re not going to want to miss it when it comes out at the end of July.
In the meantime, here’s a not-so-subtle reminder (just in case you needed it) that it’s okay to take care of you—in fact, it’s 100% essential.